[GWSG] Speedmelting; speedy Arctic; cc housing; reefs; cost of C; cc hunger; biochar's potential

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Wed Sep 19 10:02:36 EDT 2012

1.  The pace of glaciations on Baffin Island 8,000 years ago shows that ice sheets can respond with surprising speed to small changes in temperature.  The Science article provides general support for the impression that we should compress our estimates of how fast the polar ice sheets will respond to warming.  http://www.climatecentral.org/news/new-study-shows-how-fast-ice-sheets-can-change-14996

2.  Cambridge’s Peter Wadham anticipates the complete collapse of Arctic sea ice within 4 years and calls for immediate action to mitigate climate change.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/17/arctic-collapse-sea-ice

3.  Andres Duany, architect for Seaside, sees in New Urbanism the future of housing in a warming world.  http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012/09/13/city-living-will-feel-like-a-blast-from-the-past/57777250/1

4.  If we wish to preserve at least half of the world’s coral reefs we must limit warming to less than 1.5° C, according to an article in Nature Climate Change.  We have already warmed .8° and are committed to at least another .5° of warming.   http://e360.yale.edu/digest/most_coral_reefs_at_risk_even_if_warming_limited_to_2_degrees_c/3626/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+YaleEnvironment360+%28Yale+Environment+360%29

5.  Calculating the costs of climate change over time typically involves a discount rate to allow for the change in monetary value.  A recent article argues that the discount rate used by the government is too low anyway when applied over generations and has special problems when applied to climate factors which will deteriorate the conditions of economic growth.  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/09/18/866441/how-the-federal-government-greatly-underestimates-the-true-cost-of-carbon-pollution/

6.  An IPCC lead author says that malnutrition is likely to be the worst health effect of global warming.  http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/hunger-may-be-largest-health-impact-of-climate-change-expert

7.  Biochar’s ability to improve soil fertility is strongest where the soil is most acidic, as tropical soil generally is.  But its ability to sequester carbon for long periods of time does not appear to diminish significantly with location. http://www.climatecentral.org/news/biochars-potential-to-fight-climate-change-is-rich-but-hurdles-remain-14998?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climatecentral%2FdjOO+Climate+Central+-+Full+Feed  The article speaks as if biochar’s potential to sequester 10-12% of our yearly carbon production were a disappointment.  That is true only if we are looking for a way to continue business as usual.  But if we had a carbon tax set at something approaching the actual cost of carbon, reduced our production of greenhouse gasses drastically, sequestered the equivalent of 10% of our current carbon production yearly through biochar, and dealt with such adaptation issues as sea level rise and hunger, we would have a complete program.  All that is lacking is our commitment to community.  So far as the US goes the presidential election is becoming a referendum focused on that issue.
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